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STORM: A new airborne polarimetric real-aperture radar for earth observations

Dr Danièle Hauser (1), Prof. Gérard Caudal(1) , Dr Monique Dechambre(1) , Thierry Podvin(1) , and René Valentin(1)

(1) CNRS/UVSQ, 10-12 Avenue de l'Europe, F-78140 VELIZY, France

Abstract

The successful launch of the Envisat in March 2002 offers new possibilities for estimating geophysical quantities characterizing continental or sea surface using the multi-polarization ASAR. In addition, in the context of the preparation of future missions which will embark polarimetric SAR (e.g. RADARSAT2) it is important to better assess the benefit of multi-polarization or polarimetric SAR systems. Airborne radar systems remain a very useful way to validate satellite measurements and to develop or validate algorithms needed to retrieve geophysical quantities from the radar measurements. CETP has designed and developed a new airborne radar called “STORM” , which has a full polarimetric capability. STORM is derived from two previous versions of airborne radars developed at CETP, namely RESSAC (Hauser et al, JGR 1992) and RENE (Leloch-Duplex et al, Annales of Telecommunications, 1996). STORM is a real-aperture, C-Band system with a FM/CW transmission and with a rotating antenna to explore in azimuth. It offers a polarization diversity, receiving the complex signal in amplitude and phase simultaneously in H and V polarizations, which makes it possible to analyze the radar cross-section in HH, VV, HV, and other cross-polarized terms related to the scattering matrix. The antenna are pointed towards the surface with a mean incidence angle of 20° and a 3-dB aperture of about 30° in elevation and 8° in azimuth. The backscattered signal is analyzed from nadir to about 35° along the look-direction in 1012 range gates every 1.53m. The first tests with this system have been carried out in October 2001 over corner reflectors , over grass and ocean. In this workshop, we will present a validation of this system based on the results obtained with this first data set. In particular, we will present the calibration method of the complex signal (amplitude, phase), and distribution of phase differences (HH/VV, HV/VH) obtained over the different scatters (corner reflectors, grass, ocean). Comparison of results obtained with forward and side looking antenna will be discussed.

 

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